THE Department of Public Works and Highways announced that the Philippine International Convention Center Forum Halls and World Trade Center in Pasay and Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila will soon be converted into a much-needed facility for the treatment and health monitoring of COVID-19 patients.
DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar sent to the PICC the head of DPWH Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of Local and National Health Facilities Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain to conduct site inspection and spearhead meeting with Dr. Leonita P. Gorgolon of the Department of Health, Architect Dan Lichauco of UP-Philippine General Hospital, technical members of DPWH Task Force, management officials of PICC, World Trade Center, Philippine Sports Commission and representatives of EEI Corporation, Ayala Development Corporation, Makati Development Corporation, and Razon Group of Companies to enhance the surge capacity of existing medical facilities due to increasing number of persons under investigation, persons under monitoring and confirmed COVID-19 persons with mild symptoms.
Villar said the immediate conversion of PICC Forum Halls will significantly provide an optimal isolation space for monitoring of people infected by the COVID-19 virus, as most of health facilities in Metro Manila have reached or are nearing maximum capacity.
To plan the conversion of PICC Forum Halls which is a multi-purpose venue with usable area of about 4,000 square meters, Sadain also immediately presided over a special meeting at DPWH National Capital Region with the technical members of the DPWH Task Force. They are Bureau of Maintenance Director Ernesto S. Gregorio Jr., Bureau of Construction Director Eric A. Ayapana, Bureau of Design Director Aristarco M. Doroy, DPWH-NCR Director Ador G. Canlas with the nine District Engineers of the Region, and Engr. Cornelio Levalle of EEI Corporation -- the private construction firm which will assist DPWH in the materials and manpower requirements.
Sadain secured the commitment of DPWH-EEI PICC Covid Action Team to work vigorously on the redesigning and conversion of Forum Halls 1 to 3 into COVID facility within two weeks period. The PICC health facility is estimated to cater to the treatment from COVID-19 virus of about 630 patients.
Villar said that once conversion of Forum Halls is fully completed by DPWH and EEI, operation of PICC’s temporary health facility for treatment and monitoring of patients experiencing mild respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, colds, etc.) shall be under the supervision of the DOH.
On the other hand, the World Trade Center and Rizal Memorial Coliseum are two other public buildings identified to be converted as health facilities with the support of private companies.
The Ayala Development Corporation and Makati Development Corporation committed to undertake development of World Trade Center while the Razon Group will handle the PSC-operated Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, specifically the Ninoy Aquino Basketball Stadium, into added health facility for COVID infection control.
As directed by the National Task Force Covid-19, the DPWH will accredit construction workers who will work on the three facilities identified for purposes of quarantine or isolation. Such accredited workers shall be provided with quarantine pass to be exempted from the government’s strict home quarantine policy.